Music when Soft Voices Die (1984)

Programme Note: John Buckley

Music when Soft Voices Die was written for Cois Cladaigh Choir, Galway and first performed by them in February 1985. It is dedicated to the choir's conductor, Brendan O' Connor.

In the setting I have attempted to capture something of the extraordinarily evocative and haunting beauty of the words. The style of composition owes a debt to the 16th and 17th century madrigalists, whose clarity and directness of expression have been a source of inspiration.

Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory –
Odors, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the beloved’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.

P.B. Shelley